I have two children about to enter puberty. They already have phones (no SIM cards though). They are already generating a digital tail. Google already has dozens or hundreds of recordings of their voices as they use the voice search regularly. I created G Suite accounts for them so I could control what they were doing online but I now regret, somewhat, having done that.

In thinking about my own habits, experimenting with AI, and the details the big social networks have on me and my children, I feel compelled to try to take some control over things. So, I’m going on a diet…

Yes, that’s right: I’m going to give up the Facebook habit. I’m going to go back to a time when my time (and data) was mine. A time when if I was bored, I would read a book, write an email, or write a blog post! A time when I didn’t have to worry what kind of evil machinations were taking place behind the curtain that would come back to bite me, or my children, 10 years down the line.

The main reason I’m calling this a diet is because I am not giving up everything. I will continue to use Twitter and Google products, G Suite and Google search in particular, but will make Firefox my new, default browser. I will continue to try to use DuckDuckGo as my main search engine.

Dropping Facebook will be easy and a pleasure. They’ve provided me with all the tools I need to retain all of my content, rescind our agreement and delete all of my info from their databases. And I have to thank legislative pressure (or the threat of it) for making all of that possible.
Dropping “Insta” will be easy. I haven’t posted anything, only liked a few things… Really dislike the UI…

Dropping WhatsApp will be a bit of a challenge. I live in a world where everyone uses WhatsApp, except one person I know who still has a Nokia phone. Friends, touting Telegram’s open source client insist it is the solution, but they failed to notice (or care) that all of your data actually lives on servers in St. Petersburg (Russia, not Florida), and the Telegram team don’t seem to have a headquarters and instead, travel from country to country looking for one that will allow all of them to live and work there. Their location as of this writing: Dubai. This does not inspire a lot of confidence that my personal communications are really mine.

About a year ago, maybe more, I came across Keybase. At the time it didn’t impress me much as a desktop app. I wasn’t even sure what it was intended for. Now, however, it’s looking pretty awesome and will be, for the foreseeable future, my WhatsApp replacement. I’m actually really looking forward to using it.

Also, like any diet, I’m not going to drop the big three at once but rather, in a scaled fashion. Instagram will be the first to go as it is utterly unimportant in my life. One week later, Facebook, and the week after that, WhatsApp. Along the way I may drop one or two other services I never (or rarely use) but those three are the ones that worry me the most and I’m really, really looking forward to being Zuckerberg free!

And finally, as with any diet, none of this would be possible without the support of my life-long partner (my wife). She has agreed to use Keybase to communicate with me and the burden of participating in all the WhatsApp groups (school groups mostly) will fall on her, until I can convince them all to drop WhatsApp and use Keybase instead!

Interested in joining me? Follow me on Twitter or Keybase and share your experiences dropping the garbage.

After searching a rather long time and not finding anything, I decided to publish my own list of URLs as a plain text file, one URL per line.

As I do development, I sometimes need plain text files of test data. I can find Lipsum galore, placeholder photos of Bill Murry, lists of words, plain text files of varying sizes, even a place to dispose of your data (yes, trash can as a service), but I’ll be damned if I can find a single text file full of URLs. So I made my own plain text file of URLs. I hope you find this useful 🙂

You know the problem… “We’d like users to be able to authenticate using Facebook so they don’t have to create an account on our system.”

Here at Secret Source Ltd we do lots and lots of WordPress development and lately, nearly every project has required some sort of Facebook integration, the ability to log in with your Facebook account in particular. Fortunately there are multiple plugins to help you with that. We’re quite fond of the Nextend Facebook Connect plugin as it is very easy to configure and includes clear instructions on how to create a Facebook app and get everything working like a charm.

For me, though, there has always been one particular point of pain that none of these plugins have figured out how to work around: unless you want to be responsible for a Facebook app for your client’s logins, your client needs to give you THEIR Facebook credentials so you can login AS THEM to create and configure the Facebook login app.

However, I recently figured out a way around this. I know I may be late to the party but I’ve been unable to find this approach documented anywhere, or maybe I just didn’t search hard enough.

The approach is as follows:

  1. Log in to the Facebook Developer portal as yourself.
  2. Create a new app and configure it for your client, using their logo, domain, and everything.
  3. Go to Roles -> Administrators -> Add Administrators and add your client as an administrator. Note that you and your client do not need to be friends in order for you to add them, but you will need to know either their Facebook ID or Facebook “username”.

Once your client accepts your invitation to be an administrator, they can then go to the Roles tab and remove YOU from the list of administrators. The app is now THEIRS and your job is done! Note that if needed, the client can always add you back as an administrator.

This, to me, seems like a very reasonable way to have set this up and I can, for once, say I am quite happy with Facebook’s developer tools.

System Configuration

I have a CentOS 7 host machine with two KVM guests:

  1. Smoothwall 3.1
  2. Ubuntu 14.04

The Smoothwall is configured RED+GREEN+ORANGE with three separate network interfaces. The RED and GREEN interfaces are connected via bridged Macvtap with virtio drivers to two separate host interfaces (enp5s0 and enp6s0) which, in turn, are connected to two physical network cards on the machine. ORANGE is connected to a guest-only virtual switch. RED is connected to another network / gateway that connects the Smoothwall to the Internet, same as the host interface on the same card (but with different IP addresses – the RED is static, entered manually and the host is dynamic – DHCP).

After a restart of the host, all machines, host and guests, have all of the expected network connectivity, and everything just works.

The Problem

Where I live we experience periodic Internet outages lasting from a second or two to several minutes. Every time there is an outage the RED interface loses all connectivity, both inbound and outbound, once connectivity to the host has been restored (and possibly during the outage).

Following the loss of connectivity, in the host Settings -> Network control panel the interface associate with RED (Macvtap0), which is normally visible and editable, is still visible but it’s options cannot be changed as the Options button is missing. Also, the ON/OFF button is missing too. Furthermore, it no longer has anything more than a MAC address (normally it has both a MAC and an IPV6 address).

Control Panel Before Outage

Macvtap working properly

Control Panel After Outage

Macvtap failing

I’ve tried changing the driver (virtio, rtl8139, e1000, etc.) and I’ve tried changing the physical hardware but neither change has altered the behavior so I’m pretty sure it’s something in the Macvtap software that’s failing (or misconfigured).

The Solution?

There are multiple articles and bug reports that seem to indicate that this can be repaired by enabling promiscuous mode on the interface, but I tried that (sudo ifconfig Macvtap0 promisc) to no avail. Maybe I needed to toggle the interface (ifup or something like that?)

Estimado Bankia:

Desde hace varias semanas me encuentro totalmente incapaz de realizar transferencias desde mi cuenta de Empresa en el portal de Empresas de bankia.es. Sospecho que es algo que estoy haciendo mal ya que, si no mal recuerdo, lo logré hacer por lo menos una vez hace aproximadamente un mes.

Publico aquí (en este foro público) los tests que he realizado porque quiero saber si otra persona en el mundo también ha tenido este problema o si realmente soy yo el único en toda España. Al ser que soy yo, sabré que es un problema con los datos que introduzco y no, como siempre sugiere el personal de apoyo técnico de Bankia, un problema de mi navegador o sistema operativo.

Entiendo que algún protocolo hay que seguir al realizar apoyo técnico a distancia pero también creo que cuando la persona al otro lado del teléfono indica claramente que ya ha intentado todo lo que le sugieren, hay que creerlo y buscar otras posibles soluciones. En mi caso me dijeron que mandara un correo electrónico a la dirección de soporte técnico de Bankia, lo cual haré con un enlace a este post.

Los pasos a seguir que siempre recomienda soporte técnico de Bankia son: “eliminar cookies, limpiar cache, actualizar navegadores, probar con otros sistemas operativos / otro equipo, etc.” En este post muestro con capturas de pantalla todos los tests que he realizado. Al realizar los tests, pongo el navegador en modo “privado” para evitar problemas de cache y cookies. También, ya que la web de Bankia lo pone, pincho en Aceptar en cada aviso de cookies.

En mis tests seguía este proceso:

  1. Ir a la página inicial de Empresas de Bankia
  2. Pinchar en Entrar
  3. Introducir datos de contrato, etc. y pinchar en Enviar

Resultado Esperado

Veo un listado de mis cuentas

Resultado Actual

Se queda estancada la web con el mensaje: Cargando aplicación (me ha pasado alguna vez, ver más abajo)

Como alguna vez he logrado sobrepasar esta página, continúo con el proceso:

  1. Pinchar en la cuenta de la cual quiero transferir dinero
  2. Pinchar en la pestaña Favoritos para ahorrar tiempo
  3. Pinchar en el plus (+) para expandir la lista de favoritos (por cierto, interfaz totalmente no necesario en mi opinión)
  4. Pinchar en el favorito deseado
  5. Rellenar el formulario resultante con todos los datos necesarios para realizar la transferencia
  6. Pinchar en Continuar

Resultado Esperado

La transferencia se realiza con éxito y la web lo confirma con un mensaje de éxito.

Resultado Actual

Nada. La página no responde.

Hace unas semanas a través de twitter, avisé de este problema pero la respuesta dejó algo que desear.

Capturas de pantalla

Lo que sigue son las capturas de pantalla para los siguientes navegadores y sistemas operativos:

  1. Apple Macintosh
    • Google Chrome Chrome Mac About
      Chrome Mac Empresas Home
      Aquí falla – Pincho en Continuar y no responde la página ni muestra errores Chrome Mac Broken Continuar
    • Google Canary (open source version of Chrome) Canary Chrome About
      Aquí falla – Pincho en Continuar y no responde la página ni muestra errores Canary Chrome Broken Continuar
    • Firefox FF Mac About
      FF Mac Empresas Home
      Aquí falla – No llega a cargarse, da igual el tiempo que esté abierto FF Mac Cargando aplicacion
    • Safari Safari Mac About
      Safari Mac Empresas Home
      Aquí falla – Pincho en Continuar y no responde la página ni muestra errores Safari Mac Broken Continuar
  2. Linux Mint (Debian)
    • Firefox FF Linux About
      FF Linux Empresas Home
      Aquí falla – No llega a cargarse, da igual el tiempo que esté abierto FF Linux Cargando aplicacion
  3. Windows 8.1
    • Internet Explorer IE Win About
      IE Win Empresas Home
      Aquí falla – Pincho en Continuar y no responde la página ni muestra errores IE Win Broken Continuar

Ahora, como se imaginarán, preparar este informe detallado me ha costado un par de horas. Agradecería que Bankia tuviera el detalle de reconocer que sí que hay un problema y que no es ni mi navegador ni mi sistema operativo, etc., pero no lo harán. No lo harán porque no es su cultura. Lástima, lástima… Que sepa Bankia que a mi me ha costado un par de horas preparar este informe inútil pero a ellos les ha costado un cliente. Recomiendo a los directivos de Bankia que lean The Cluetrain Manifesto y que se actualicen sus maneras y que mejoren su apoyo técnico, nivel 1, pero tampoco me harán no creo que me harán caso así que adiós Bankia. ¡Adiós!

PD: Me pregunto que si su web funciona con estos errores, qué otros sistemas informáticos tendrán con errores?

Actualización (4 horas después de publicar esto): Recibí una llamada (tras un par de correos de Bankia pidiendo más información) de un tal Miguel. La verdad es que me trató muy bien: nada de actitud, pidiendo disculpas por la mala gestión de la incidencia y reconociendo que en efecto era un problema de Bankia. En concreto, la funcionalidad de Favoritos no funciona correctamente. Le comenté a Miguel que para mí, un botón o enlace, para los usuarios, es como una promesa y si no funciona o funciona de una manera no esperada, crea en ella una emoción parecido a la frustración. Le recomendé que quitaran la funcionalidad hasta que funcionara y dijo que lo anotaría en su informe.

Al final seguramente me han perdido como cliente por muchas razones (entre ellas si quiero cancelar mi cuenta tengo que ir a la oficina donde la abrí – que me lo expliquen…) pero agradezco mucho la llamada y la ayuda. Pena que no cuenten con 100 Migueles en Bankia para atenderte tan amablemente como fue conmigo.